After starring as blind superhero Daredevil in the 2003 movie of the same name, Ben Affleck was set to make a brief appearance in spin-off movie Elektra, which starred Jennifer Garner as the sai wielding ninja.
OH. SO WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED?
Affleck would have appeared (oh so briefly) as Daredevil’s alter-ego Matt Murdock, in a short dream sequence where Affleck would have spoken to Elektra and asked her to return home from her ‘journey’.
BUT WHAT DID HAPPEN?
Garner asked Affleck to film the scene and like a good sport he did. The scene was in the can and it was all set to appear in the finished movie, however a couple of things happened that kept it from becoming part of the final edit. Prior to filming the cameo Affleck had been involved in a very public relationship with Hispanic popstar/actress/wielder of one big booty, Jennifer Lopez, that attracted a lot of attention, even after they had split up. Affleck then began dating Garner, but when Fox (the studio behind Elektra) found out about their relationship the studio was worried that there might be a backlash from the paying public, who had grown tired of hearing about ‘Bennifer’ (the term used to describe Affleck and Lopez’s union). As well as this the studio also decided to distance the movie from Daredevil to instead appeal to audiences who preferred its hit X-Men franchise. The first two X-Men movies had proved popular with Joe Public and so despite no direct connection to the merry mutants, trailers for the film made a note to mention Elektra was from the same studio as X-Men to create a connection. Instead of appearing as a continuation of Daredevil, Fox wanted Elektra to become more of a standalone entry, that didn’t require audiences to have seen the first movie... and that’s pretty much what they got. However Affleck’s cameo didn’t remain on the cutting room floor forever, because it did turn up as a deleted scene on the ‘extras’ when Elektra was released on DVD. It was then later incorporated into a special edition release of Elektra, as part of the three minutes of unseen footage when that got a DVD release.
WAS THIS SUCH A BAD THING?
For fans of Daredevil (both comic character and movie character), Fox’s disregard for the character’s connection to Elektra was unforgivable. Regardless of whether or not audiences particularly liked the Daredevil movie, it was after all the main reason that Elektra got a spin-off film in the first place. Severing practically all connection to The Man Without Fear’s movie seemed like a daft idea and only served to alienate those who bothered to turn up at cinemas hoping to see their favourite blind superhero make an appearance. The fact that the scene was eventually incorporated back into a DVD release only highlighted the stupidity, because its inclusion was clearly only present in order to shift copies of the DVD to Daredevil fans!
BUT WHAT IF?
If Ben Affleck’s Daredevil cameo had been in the original release of Elektra then no one would have even bothered to buy the DVD as there really would have been no point. This would have been a bit of a financial nightmare for Fox, but it would have encouraged the studio to try that little bit harder with the other superhero movies it was developing (including Fantastic Four (2005), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)). These would have then become classics of modern superhero cinema, poo-pooing all over the likes of Iron Man (2008), The Dark Knight (2008) and Watchmen (2009).
But sadly that didn’t happen...and that’s why those movies were pretty lame.